“Good seasons start with good beginnings” – Sparky Anderson
Had to reschedule your trip to Japan? Maybe you want to know the best time to reschedule? Want to put some items on the bucket list? If you are reading these lines, then it may be time for you to prepare your trip to Japan and discover the beauty of each season.
Indeed, each season (季節 kisetsu) in Japan has the wonderful power to stay in your mind. Whether it is spring, summer, autumn or winter, don’t let the differences in seasons tear you apart trying to decide when to visit Japan. Instead, let’s discover the many treasures of each season for you to experience!
Excited? Let’s get into it.
Spring occurs during the months of March, April, and May and is called haru (春) in Japanese. The last bit of snow will disappear little by little as every single tree will wear a new outfit to be ready and blossom. Here are some reasons why you should visit Japan during spring:
- Score some budget-friendly ski resort deals with the milder weather.
- Take a stroll to enjoy the cherry blossoms (桜 sakura).
- Have a picnic under the cherry blossoms.
- See the illuminated cherry blossom corridors at night!
- Hear the bush warblers as they begin to sing!
- Try a fruit sandwich (it’s delicious)!
- Eat sakura flavoured foods like sakuramochi.
- Pick up amazing sakura snacks and treats at a konbini (convenience store)!
- Quench your thirst with sakura flavoured drinks.
- Sip on limited edition spring alcoholic drinks.
- Pour amacha (sweet tea) on the Buddha statue at Hanamatsuri (festival for Buddha’s birthday).
- Visit Emperor Showa’s burial tomb in commemoration of Showa no Hi (Emperor Showa’s birthday).
- See the lines of carp streamers hung up to celebrate Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day).
- Visit a green tea farm and drink delicious matcha with elegant sweets.
- See mikoshi (portable shrine) floats at a spring festival.
- Go strawberry picking but also eat lots of strawberry treats!
- Learn more and go green for Earth Day celebrations!
- Yell your hardest for your favourite at a sumo tournament.
Summer is Natsu (夏) in Japanese and takes place in the months of June, July, and August. It is a very hot period with a rainy season at the beginning. Here, I gathered up some items on why you should visit Japan (despite the humid weather) during this season:
- Hiking season to go up the great Mt Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is open.
- Catch the sunrise at Fujisan’s peak.
- Book shorter hikes along a peaceful trail.
- Listen for the cicadas as they begin to sing at the start of summer.
- Go swimming at popular beach sites.
- Rent a bike and go cycling out in the fresh air.
- Book yourself pure excitement with water sport activities.
- Book a ferry ride to a chain of volcanic islands like the Ogasawara Islands.
- Cool off with delicious Japanese summer treats.
- Split open a watermelon under the sun and share.
- Cool off and eat warabi mochi (mochi made from warabi flour and coated in sweet toasted soybean powder).
- Have a meal on a river next to nature itself.
- Catch the amazing views at a firework festival.
- Dress up in a yukata (summer kimono) and enjoy festival street food.
- See the sunflowers dancing in the wind.
- Admire the hydrangeas that come into bloom.
- Marvel at Hokkaido’s long stretches of flower fields.
- Make a wish at Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival).
- Grab the nagashi-somen (flowing noodles) from the flowing streams in bamboo.
- Jam out at the Fuji Rock Festival.
In the months of September, October and November, we have autumn which is (秋) aki in Japanese. It is the season where the temperature is moderate and gets a little cooler. It is an explosion of colors that turn into orange, yellow and red. Why visit Japan during this season? Well, here is a list for you:
- Stroll and see the vibrant colours of Momiji.
- Bring a camera and capture the autumn scenery.
- Eat delicious maple leaf shaped treats.
- Indulge in the delicious seasonal snacks such as sweet potatoes and chestnuts.
- See the golden rice fields ready for harvesting.
- Celebrate Otsukimi (festival to honor the moon).
- Eat rabbit shaped treats for Otsukimi.
- Pick and eat the autumn fruits that come into season such as grapes and apples.
- Listen for the crickets chirping as the cicadas go away.
- Coolest time to hike Mt Takao in metropolitan Tokyo.
- Cycle through flower parks and the vibrant floral hillsides.
- See the vibrant red, painted hillsides of the Kochia shrubs.
- Enjoy nature at Iwayado Park.
- Get lost in the origins and works of Japanese culture on Bunka no Hi (Culture Day).
- Cosplay and head to a nearby Halloween party.
- Eat your way through the Tokyo Ramen Show.
- Warm up by eating oden (Japanese hotpot).
- Primetime for sporting events and outdoor recreation.
Finishing the year off but also welcoming the new one, we have the winter season during the months of December, January and February which is known as fuyu (冬) in Japanese. It is very cold and dry, with temperatures reaching as low as 5 degrees celsius depending on the region you are in as northern Japan gets much colder. Nevertheless, you can see Japan under the snow cover and discover another aspect of it.
- Stay warm under the kotatsu (futon attached to a table with a heater).
- Enjoy Japanese flavours in the form of hotpot for winter.
- Skiing adventures in the powder snow weather.
- Relax at an onsen (hot spring), especially after a ski trip.
- See Christmas illuminations on the streets with your loved one.
- Stroll the streets and buy a delicious steamed bun.
- Buy a warm drink from Japan’s amazing vending machines.
- Try out the famous Japanese KFC on Christmas Day.
- Indulge and celebrate with the famous Christmas strawberry shortcake.
- Wonder at the naturally formed ice sculptures (shibuki-gori).
- Do you want to build a snowman? Head to the Sapporo snow festival.
- Dance along with Mickey and friends at Disneyland.
- Dive in the Mermaid Lagoon at DisneySea.
- Only time to go mikan (orange) picking and grab some vitamin c.
- Eat osechi (an assortment of traditional Japanese new year foods) at a new year’s celebration.
- Ring into the new year at the New Year’s Eve celebrations in major cities.
- Eat soba noodles (toshikoshi soba) before the new year begins for good luck.
- Catch the first sunrise of the year with family/friends.
- Go to hatsumōde (first temple visit of the year) to a temple/shrine.
- Geek out at the comic market and cosplay as your favourite character.
Which season do you prefer, and which season attracts you more? Are you preparing now for that long-awaited trip? Stay tuned as we round up 10 reasons to visit each season, as each season is unique in its own way.
There are so many things to see and do in Japan! Make sure to book a call with our personal consulting team for great advice and if you need any help for your trip!
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